Little House in the Big Woods


Words and Photos by Caroline Royce

The first time I visited the old Ruckdashel cabin, it was as rustic as rustic could be. I arrived with my then-boyfriend (now husband) Alan and his friends for a raucous weekend, but it turned out it’s as remote as it is rustic. To reach the cabin you have to drive a mile or two (though it feels longer) down a pot-hole riddled dirt road. Most cars can’t make the drive so you have to ferry in by boat from the other side of the lake. When we did arrive, the fun still had to wait as we had to bushwhack through the thick, tall grass and sweep dead flies off the floor. There was no running water or electricity; we lived out of coolers for the weekend. 

It wasn’t the cozy lake retreat I was accustomed to on my own family vacations. 

That cabin is now buried somewhere on the hill. The new cabin is spartan and quaint, with two bedrooms, a loft, a bathroom and a working kitchen. My in-laws built it a few years ago and have made it a second home; they host children and grandchildren often in all seasons, but it’s especially special in the summertime. Alan and I bring our son Alex where he’s well cared for by his grandparents and we can get some true R&R. Alan’s dad spends most evenings fishing with a little trolling motor on his rowboat We take the canoe out in the evenings, go swimming in the daytime, all sit down and eat lunch as a family. It’s like an old fashioned family cabin experience. I love the small comforts of Lake Life.

Caroline Royce